European Food Research and Technology

, Volume 244, Issue 12, pp 2077–2084 | Cite as

Evaluation of human exposure to aluminum from food and food contact materials

  • Thorsten StahlEmail author
  • Sandy Falk
  • Hasan Taschan
  • Bruce Boschek
  • Hubertus Brunn
Review Article


Aluminum constitutes the third most common element in the earth’s crust. In spite of this there is no evidence that it is essential for any living organism. It has been shown that uptake of aluminum in large amounts can have detrimental effects on the nervous system, bones and the hemopoietic system. Aluminum exposure in humans is generally the result of ingestion of foods that naturally contain aluminum, those treated with approved food additives and the result of migration from utensils and packaging. The tolerable uptake as derived by the European Food Safety Authority is 1 mg aluminum/kg body weight/week for all groups. Regional differences contribute to a large variation in worldwide uptake of aluminum. Evaluation of the results of various studies shows that individual dietary exposure to aluminum can vary greatly. For adults the average exposure amounted to 0.2–1.5 mg/kg body weight and week. As a result of their lower body weight, the maximum exposure for children and young people was found to be between 0.7 and 2.3 mg/kg body weight and week. This represents values between 14 and 105 mg aluminum/week for a 70 kg adult, and from 21 to 69 mg/week for a 30 kg child. These estimates show that for part of the human population enough aluminum can be taken up through diet to reach the tolerable weekly intake.


Aluminum Aluminium Uptake Foods and food products Food contact materials Tolerable weekly intake TWI 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest to declare.

Compliance with ethical requirements

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thorsten Stahl
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sandy Falk
    • 2
  • Hasan Taschan
    • 3
  • Bruce Boschek
    • 4
  • Hubertus Brunn
    • 3
  1. 1.Hessian State LaboratoryKasselGermany
  2. 2.Hessian State LaboratoryWiesbadenGermany
  3. 3.Hessian State LaboratoryGiessenGermany
  4. 4.Institute of Medical VirologyJustus Liebig UniversityGiessenGermany

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